Women’s Health concerns often first arise during the college years. It is during this time that a young woman may experience for the first time a problem related to her reproductive health. She also may have her first significant sexual experience during this time. These situations raise questions and concerns and she needs reliable, nonjudgmental information from a trusted source. Student Health Services physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide comprehensive women’s health services to address the many reproductive health questions and situations that may arise.
One of the most common reasons college age women seek women’s health services is related to contraception, or prevention of pregnancy. There are many options available to effectively prevent pregnancy. Some do not require a visit to a medical provider. These include male and female condoms and spermicides. To be optimally effective, the couple must use them with every sexual encounter and know how to use them correctly. These barrier methods also reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomonas, Syphilis and HIV.
There are many prescription forms of contraception. These include hormonal birth control pills, patches and injections, intrauterine devices (IUD) and subdermal implants. All of these have various risks and side effects along with benefits beyond just preventing pregnancy. There are many myths and misconceptions about birth control so women are encouraged to meet with a women’s health professional to learn more about the options available so they can make an informed decision. Birth control pills, patches, injections, IUDs and implants do not prevent the transmission of infections. Barrier methods should be used in conjunction with the prescription contraceptives to reduce STIs.